The Ultimate Guide to Microsoft 365 for Apple Users

Is your company thinking about implementing Microsoft 365 (formally named Office 365)? Lots of people we speak with feel overwhelmed by the various offerings of Microsoft. Truth be told, Microsoft365 is a very large (and evolving) cloud platform so in this guide, we will try break down what you absolutely need to know!

Table of Contents

Part A: Microsoft Office Applications

Let’s start with the basics. The Microsoft Office Desktops applications are one small but very important part of Microsoft’s product portfolio.

These applications have had quite a transformation over the last 30 years.

Compatibility Table of Microsoft Office for Mac Applications

Office VersionSupport End DateMinimum OS & OS Compatibility
Microsoft Office 98 (v8.0)June 30, 2003Classic Mac OS 7.5
Microsoft Office 2001 (v9.0)December 31, 2005Classic Mac OS 8.1
Microsoft Office v.X (v10.0)January 9, 2007Mac OS X 10.1 – Mac OS X 10.6
Microsoft Office 2004 (v11.0)January 10, 2012Mac OS X 10.2 – Mac OS X 10.6
Microsoft Office 2008 (v12.0)April 9, 2013Mac OS X 10.4 (PPC) – macOS 10.12
Microsoft Office 2011 (v14.0)October 10, 2017Mac OS X 10.5 (Intel) – macOS 10.12
Microsoft Office 2016 (v16.0October 13, 2020macOS 10.10 – macOS 10.13
Microsoft Office 2019 (v16.0)October 10, 2023macOS 10.12 – macOS 11
Microsoft Office 2021 (v16.0)To Be AnnouncedmacOS 10.15 – macOS 11

Word, Excel, PowerPoint & Outlook

Make visually appealing, comprehensive documents, spreadsheets and presentations through these applications.

Keep organized with your email, calendar and contacts all in one place.

Purchasing Microsoft Office Apps: what are my options?

If you landed here it’s probably because you’re wondering, how the heck do I get the Microsoft Office apps and what are all of the options?! There are now 3 options for Apple users to get the Microsoft Office Applications for macOS (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook).

  1. Purchase online directly from Microsoft – Paid
  2. Purchase a retail box from a big box store (e.g. BestBuy, Staples) – Paid
  3. Download from Apple’s App Store* – Free

* Sure, the apps are free to download from the Mac App Store but you’ll need an active Microsoft365 subscription to activate the apps – see the section below for the full explanation.

Perpetual VS Subscription Model for Microsoft Office

There are 2 licensing models available to you in your pursuit of obtaining the Microsoft Office Apps only. (Please note that we are not talking about anything beyond the Desktop apps!)

What is a Perpetual License (Office 2019)?

  • A perpetual license means that you own a license of the software for life.
  • You’ll get access to the semi-frequent software updates that Microsoft releases for bug fixes and security patches.
  • They refer to the apps as the Classic 2019 version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
  • However, once a new major version of Microsoft Office Apps is released (e.g. 2021), you will not have access to it and you’ll be stuck on your now, outdated version. *sad trumpet sound*
Where can I buy a perpetual license of Office 2019?
  • A perpetual license of the Microsoft Office applications can be purchased from Microsoft directly for about $319 CAD.
  • You can purchase a physical retail box for $299.00 CAD by the name of “Office for Home & Business 2019”. They’re one-time purchases that give you access to a digital download.
  • Keep in mind, the software can only be installed on one (1) Mac or one (1) PC.

What is a Microsoft 365 Subscription?

Instead of a one-time purchase, Microsoft now offers a subscription model which provides you with some sweet benefits! 

Main Benefits of Microsoft 365 Subscription:

  • 1TB of OneDrive storage per user.
  • Access to the latest applications.
  • Install the applications on up to 5 devices per user. 
  • For Home Use:
    • Microsoft 365 Personal (Single User): $8 CAD per month
    • Microsoft 365 Family (Up to 6 Users): $11 CAD per month
  • For Business Use:
    • Microsoft 365 Apps: $11 CAD per user per month

Part B: The Microsoft 365 Environment for Apple Business Users

As you’ve probably figured out by now, Microsoft 365 is a whole lot more than just the Office apps on your grandmother’s dusty iMac G5. The Microsoft 365 is really meant for companies as all of their services are intended for workgroups and teams. 

Here are some of the other apps that make up the Microsoft 365 environment for a small business like yours.

Exchange (Email, Contacts and Calendars)

  • Email:
    • If you’re here, your company most likely uses its own personalized domain to send and receive emails with its clients, partners and vendors (e.g. )
    • To that end, Exchange Online provides many features in a web browser or through Outlook installed locally on your Mac, iPhone or iPad.
    • Enjoy a large mailbox with about ~50GB of storage in a beautiful and easy to use webmail (Exchange Online) for your company email. Mailbox size is up to 50GB per user.
    • Your email is fully synchronized across your various devices.
  • Contacts
    • Keep a list of personal contacts
    • Access your Global Address List through Exchange Online or through Outlook for Mac.
  • Calendars:

OneDrive

  • OneDrive is a local application that gets installed on your device (macOS, iOS, Windows, Android)
  • It allows you to sync your files and folders to Microsoft’s Cloud so that you can access those same files from your other devices. 
  • For Apple users the OneDrive application has different options including Sync On Demand, and Finder Integration (This will display an icon on the sync status of the file/folder).

For Apple systems administrators, Microsoft makes a list of configurable property list (.plist) options available for additional control, security and management. Some examples of these include: 

  • Block upload to specified Microsoft 365 tenants
  • Specify the Default Location of the OneDrive Folder
  • Disable Personal Sync
  • Disable Tutorial once the OneDrive is installed
  • Limit Upload & Download OneDrive Bandwidth
  • Automatically set Download and Upload Bandwidth as a percentage of available bandwidth
  • Open OneDrive on User Login
  • Prevent Apps from Downloading Online-only files
  • Hide the OneDrive Icon from the Dock
  • Enable or Disable Files On Demand (It’s enabled by default)

These settings can be deployed manually or automatically using a Mobile Device Management solution. 

Additional resources: OneDrive video training

SharePoint

  • Share and manage your content, knowledge and applications through SharePoint.
  • SharePoint is a kind of private “wiki” accessible only to staff in your organization.
  • Each group in your Microsoft365 environment can have its own private SharePoint site for collaboration.
  • Most companies implement a SharePoint site for each of their departments. For example, the Accounting, Marketing, Sales and Operations teams would each have their own SharePoint sites.
  • Files can be accessed from the web portal or when synced to a users’ OneDrive.
  • Additional resources:

(Pssst. Have you read our comparison of OneDrive and Sharepoint?)

OneNote

  • Just like it sounds this application is a digital notebook, allowing you to write down your meeting notes and upcoming tasks all in once place.
  • Additional resources:

Microsoft Teams

  • Teams is a communication platform that allows you to host a variety of meetings, calls and web conferences between internal employees and external contributors.
  • In addition to inviting your colleagues to virtual meetings, you can invite external guests who are not on Microsoft 365.
  • The platform is quickly evolving with plugins and integration to increase collaboration and productivity.
  • Additional resources:

Pro Tip: You can now ditch that expensive Zoom subscription and simply use Microsoft Teams!

Microsoft To Do

  • This app looks strangely similar to Wunderlist (We were big fans!) Well, Microsoft acquired Wunderlist a few years ago and they’ve relaunched it under their own banner.
  • Microsoft To Do is a fantastic app that can be used to track your to-dos intelligently.
  • You have the ability to share to-do lists with team members, assign them to a particular person, set due dates, reminders, etc. It also syncs across all of your devices logged into the same account.
  • You can also share to do lists with your colleagues so they stay on track!
  • Additional resources:

Other Apps available as part of Microsoft365

  • Microsoft Bookings
  • Yammer
  • Microsoft Access (no macOS version!)
  • Microsoft Project (no macOS version!)
  • MileIQ
  • Microsoft Power Automate (previously Flow)
  • Microsoft InTune
  • PowerBI

The pros and cons of Microsoft 365

Person using Microsoft OneDrive on tablet and phone

There is a learning curve to every software that your organization implements. We’ve summarized some of the pros and cons of purchasing Microsoft 365. These will help you gather a strong sense of what you’ll be paying for.   

Microsoft 365 Pros

  • Security Focused: A cloud based solution is not any more or less safe than on-premise solutions. It is how you use it and what security features you chose to implement that can make a difference. Microsoft 365 security features include things like: 
    • Encrypted Email: This keeps anyone other than the intended recipient from reading your email.
    • Data Loss Prevention Features: These are policies that check and prevent sensitive information from leaving your organization. 
    • Mobile Device Management: This allows you to control features on your employees phones and devices through Microsoft InTune. For example, if a phone gets lost you can wipe it clean, so that no information is released. 
  • Mix & Match Plans: Not every organization has the same goals or will want the same things within their applications. Microsoft 365 offers different packages with a variety of programs and features. Have a front line employee who just needs an email but no Desktop Apps? No problem! 
  • Collaborate together and work anywhere easily:  One of the main reasons that businesses are seeing great benefits from Microsoft 365 is because of the ability to work from anywhere and collaborate easily.
  • Continually Evolving Platform: Microsoft is continually investing in the development of the platform and adding new features. Microsoft has a blog dedicated to its development efforts. You can access it here.

Microsoft 365 cons

  • As previously mentioned, Microsoft 365 is a cloud based service so you’re reliant on the company’s cloud infrastructure. An outage will affect all of your users.
  • Many organizations don’t like applications that are subscription based. Unfortunately, this is the only way by which you can purchase Microsoft 365.
  • Most people only use 20% of the functionalities within Microsoft 365. Some may think of this as a con since they aren’t getting their moneys worth. At the same time, look at it as an opportunity! There is so much Office 365 can do for your organization that you aren’t currently taking advantage of. 
  • Microsoft implements new features often. These features can be hard to keep up with. At the same time, they don’t tend to be large changes. Most of the time you won’t even recognize what the changes are!

Additional Resources

Need help implementing Microsoft 365 in your small business? Get in touch with us!

To find out how SupportMyMac can help your business with proactive and professional managed services, call us at 613-693-1964

OR CONTACT US ONLINE

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